From COVID-19 discussions to company values, our client Thomas Quinn offer an insight into their company and the industry.
Tony Wright and Phil Beard established Thomas Quinn in its current form in 2013. Prior to this both had been in a practice that was founded over 20 years ago. The practice, under their leadership, has grown and developed into the existing firm operating from four offices.
Their vision was to create an accountancy firm which proactively worked for its clients. Rather than just popping up once a year, they sought to become an integral part of their clients' businesses.
According to Thomas Quinn customers, they have succeeded in making that vision a reality.
How has Thomas Quinn had to adapt the business during COVID-19?
Working in a different way, whether that be remotely and/or digitally. Video conferencing has been an important element of that adaptation for us.
Going into lockdown we were largely ready with cloud accounting enabling us to switch to home working quickly. Teams / Zoom conference calls have reduced travelling and commuting costs and we have replaced monthly meetings with a newsletter.
However, it has been harder to be as personal on a Teams / Zoom video call as there is less rapport. Video calls work to an extent but it can’t replace face to face meetings.
We have had to adapt to the conditions laid down by the government which can change very quickly. Initially we responded by staff working from home, with a few volunteering to enter the office. An office rota has been put in place to enable social distancing and we have
mask wearing and hand washing policies in the office. There is also a process in place to enable clients to visit too.
What has become more important during COVID-19?
Communicating in new ways, whether it by video or by phone.
Having efficient IT systems.
Being flexible and adaptable.
Learning how to motivate and monitor staff whilst remote working.
Will you keep any initiatives you have begun / put in place?
More home working and flexibility of location of working going forwards.
You have clients in a variety of different markets, how have they each been effected; have they been effected differently?
Yes, they have been effected in differing and contrasting aspects. Hospitality has been affected most. Some have had no viable business during the pandemic and still struggling.
Builders affected initially but they have recovered quickly.
Support services for hospitality and those behind the scenes have been largely forgotten (i.e. laundry services), they have received little direct support.
What government initiatives do you feel have been most effective and what have been ineffective?
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was most effective, without a doubt. It helped many companies who didn’t know which way to turn and without it many companies would not be here now. It removed uncertainty.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been difficult to apply for and drawdown but the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) loans were very effective.
What was the biggest challenge a customer was faced with and how did you figure it out together?
Getting funding. Some applications were rejected.
There was no clear indication of criteria at the start with changing and evolving requirements.
A customer had to restructure the company’s debt profile to ensure they met criteria requirements
In your opinion, where do you see the future of accounting now going in the next 5 years?
More systematic approach with efficient automation.
Less contact and conversations with clients as systems become more autonomous.
Our ongoing differentiator will be to ensure that contact is maintained.
To learn more about Thomas Quinn, visit their website via thomasquinn.co.uk.